A quick anecdote before we get into this week’s Impact. I’ve really been getting into UFC and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in general and I had the pleasure of attending my first ever UFC show this past weekend with UFC 55: Fury at the Mohegan Sun Arena. While the show itself is pretty much being buried by the net, as it had a weak card and some frustrating finishes, there’s nothing like actually being there live for an event. I had a great time, despite it’s flaws and especially since I was able to meet MANY fighters prior to the show. Andrei Arlovski, Georges St. Pierre, Forrest Griffin, Nate Quarry, Jorge Gurgel and HERB~! were all kind enough to take pictures with me and it was a great experience.
Anyway…onto this weeks’ show!
The show opens with a brief recap of last week, focusing on Team 3D’s debut in TNA, attacking the newly turned heel tag team of America’s Most Wanted and the NWA Champ, Jeff Jarrett.
It leads to a very old school backstage promo as Team 3D basically pump up tonight’s match and set the stage for their desire to get the NWA Tag Titles. They haven’t said it just yet, but once they win (not if, since you know it’s just a matter of time) they’ll be the only team to ever hold the NWA, WWE/F, ECW & WCW tag titles. The only other team that could claim such a feat would be the Road Warriors as they held the same titles, minus ECW, but including the AWA tag belts too. Very solid promo which pretty much gets their point across without any shenanigans or backstage interviews.
A clip of Raven being escorted out of the building “earlier tonight” is shown as we head into the arena for the opening and the first match of the night.
3 Live Kru vs. Team Canada in a 6 man tag match
Match Background: Team Canada consists of Eric Young, Bobby Roode, A-1 and Petey Williams, who was featured last week with his amazing Canadian Destroyer. They’re managed by Coach Scott D’Amore, who always comes to the ring with a Canadian flag…held by a hockey stick, just to poke some stereotypical fun into the mix. Bobby Roode is a solid worker and Eric Young has earned my respect in the last year or so with his work in tag matches. A-1 has done absolutely nothing for me so far. The crew comes to the ring minus Petey Williams for this match.
3LK is Konnan, B. G. James (the former Roaddogg) and Ron “The Truth” Killings and these two teams actually feuded over the NWA Tag Titles in TNA about a year ago or so. These two teams brawled to the back during last week’s closing segment and here we are for the opener tonight.
The Match: Eric Young is actually startled by his own pyro, since Team Canada are heels and…heels don’t get pyro most of the time. 3LK come to the ring and spew out all of their pre-match catchphrases before getting attacked from behind.
Only Bobby Roode and BG James are left in the ring as the two groups brawl on the outside and Coach D’Amore joins Tenay and West on commentary. The Canadians take over on BG James while D’Amore rants on about he and Jarrett being in cahoots. Meanwhile, the former Billy Gunn, Kip James, is shown on the entrance ramp watching the match…
Tenay gives it to us straight as he states that he and James are former multiple time WWE Tag Champs and have a lot of history together. West gives us a quick recap of the last few months, letting us all know that Kip did everything he could to break up 3LK and rejoin with BG, but BG showed his loyalty to 3LK and doesn’t want anything to do with his former tag partner.
BG tags in The Truth and he’s a HOUSE EN FUEGO~! as he nails all 3 members of TC and hits his split/spinning leg lariat combo for a broken up two count. Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve typed that out…
Konnan comes in and crotches Eric Young on the top rope…and takes off his shoe! The crowd knows exactly whats coming and cheers for the shoe as Konnan rears back and tosses it at him…and completely misses! Eric Young, who tends to oversell everything, seems to sell it…only to have Konnan throw his other shoe at him and knock him off the ring ropes to the floor.
Bobby Roode rushes into the ring and EATS a shoe shot to the chest (that’s a new one) and bumps off of it like he was hit with a Mortal Kombat 4 boulder or something. Konnan follows him to the outside as Truth comes into the ring and hits a Booker T-esque axe kick for the pinfall.
Winners: 3 Live Kru
The Canadians attack BG James after the match, leaving him laying in the ring, but before they can inflict much damage, Kip James runs into the ring, stepping over BG and pretty much egging the Canadians on, but they beg off. Konnan jumps into the ring and confronts Kip, as he knows he just wants to stir trouble in 3LK and BG pleads the two sides not to fight as Team Canada walks away…
My Opinion: TNA basically put the brakes on the BG James/Kip James storyline during the time that they didn’t have a TV deal, waiting for the Spike TV deal to go into effect before resurrecting this storyline. The fans have wanted a New Age Outlaws reunion for some time now and after all of the putting off, they’ll finally start advancing this angle pretty soon. Rumors are rampant as to the direction that Konnan and Truth will go after the Outlaws reunion finally does take place, which could be as soon as Bound for Glory, but don’t be surprised if they don’t pull the trigger just yet.
The match itself wasn’t going to be a great match by any means with the small amount of time that they gave it, but Eric Young was his great overselling self. Konnan’s new shoe spot just got exposed to a new audience and I’m sure he’s overuse that like he has everything else in his repertoire pretty soon. I know why they wouldn’t want to start off with screwy finishes, but this clearly put 3LK above Team Canada on the tag team food chain right now. *1/4
After the first commercial break, Tenay and West hype up AMW and Team 3D for tonight, calling it a dream match before segueing into a video package about the Ultimate X match. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a gimmick match where four poles are extended in the ring, with wires connecting them, forming an X and usually, a title belt is held up in the middle of the X. This X Division staple started a few years back and has had some classic moments (as well as some groan worthy ones) and TNA is more than happy to showcase this unique match up as often as they can. They show highlights from some of the best Ultimate X matches, including some crazy bumps from guys such as AJ Styles, Low-Ki, Chris Sabin, Christopher Daniels and others…
Christopher Daniels vs. Austin Aries vs. Matt Bentley (w/Traci)
Match Background: “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels is one of the best pieces of talent never to be shown on a national level until now and I’m very pleased that he’s become a staple of the X Division. He’s given himself the moniker of “Mr. TNA” as the former X Division champion held that title longer than anyone else in the company’s history (largely due to the fact that they didn’t have a TV deal) and recently lost the title to his nemesis AJ Styles. His last one on one title defense on PPV was against Austin Aries, a former Ring of Honor world champion who dethroned current TNA star Samoa Joe, at Final Battle 2004, ending his 23 month ROH Championship reign which has reached legendary status in that promotion. Aries was actually the winner of an internet poll, as TNA asked the fans who they wanted to see Daniels defend the title against and they tore the house down. Matt Bentley is the former Michael Shane and X Division champion, who’s claim to fame is being Shawn Michaels’ cousin and getting one of the most undeserved pushes in the X Division ever. Yes, I’m a bit biased as Bentley has almost never impressed me except for his time teaming with Frankie “Desperado” Kazarian. Bentley won the first ever Ultimate X match, in a match that still pisses me off to this day.
The Match: Bentley comes to the ring with the lovely Traci Brooks, who I’ve been known to lust over during the Diatribe’s and I still don’t understand why the hell she’s paired with him.
The action starts quick and every man gets a few quick bits of offense in before Aries takes over to the crowds delight. He slingshots himself into the ring, landing a twisting splash on Daniels for a 2 count, but Bentley takes over on Aries after the kickout. Bentley hits a neckbreaker on Aries and a stunner on Daniels at pretty much the same time as the announcers hype up the Ultimate X match for the #1 contendership at BFG. Daniels hits the STO on Bentley, but its broken up by Aries, only for Daniels to take over again with a reverse DDT on Bentley and a standard DDT on Aries at the same time. He goes for a pinfall on both men, but both men kickout at 2. Aries and Bentley team up to toss Daniels off the top rope and then go at it themselves as Aries connects with a backdrop and a series of clotheslines on both men. He hits one of his favorite spots, a running dropkick into the turnbuckle on Daniels for a two count, but that’s broken up by Bentley. Aries gets on top of Bentley’s shoulders, in a victory roll position…but backs Bentley by the ropes and hits a reverse huracanrana, sending both men to the outside!
Daniels sets up for an Asai moonsault onto both men, but Aries moves out of the way and Daniels crashes onto the floor, hitting feet first actually. Bentley nails Aries with a clothesline and tosses him into the ring, but both men hurt each other with simultaneous cross body blocks. Traci is taunting Daniels on the outside, but Petey Williams comes down to ringside and starts hitting on Traci…but Chris Sabin comes out of nowhere and brawls with him for a few seconds until Bentley comes FLYING out of the ring with a tope con hilo onto both men! Aries looks to jump to the outside as well, but Daniels is in the ring and crotches him on the top rope! He sets him up and hits the Angel’s Wings (think a lifted sit out Pedigree) for the pinfall.
Winner: Christopher Daniels
My Opinion: Unfortunately, it seems like Aries is the odd man out. Bentley, Sabin & Petey Williams are facing each other at BGF in the Ultimate X match and Daniels is facing AJ Styles in a 30 minute Iron Man (Re-)Match for the X Title. Meanwhile, I don’t think Aries even has a match scheduled for the PPV, so it makes sense that he’s the one that’s pinned. Bentley actually didn’t screw anything up and who knows, maybe he has improved. The match, of course, didn’t get much time since TNA is still in introduction mode. Everyone worked hard and no one missed anything, but this just didn’t get much time. Still, it displayed that Daniels outsmarted his opponents, but I’m still not sure why Petey Williams was out there in the first place. **
The Bound for Glory promo is aired again and I’m STILL floored by the revelation of THE VOICE and his awesome dashiki.
It’s time for another superstar profile video and this time, “The Monster” Abyss is featured. They put him over as arguably the best big man in the business today and he certainly deserves lots of praise for his in ring work as he definitely works hard and makes everything look as brutal as can be. Abyss looks like a hybrid between Mankind and Jason Voorhees (played by Kane Hodder, everyone else sucks). Clips of his “work” are shown as he Black Hole Slams Sabu into a ton of thumbtacks and over head belly to belly suplexes Jeff Hardy from the ring to the outside and through a stack of tables! He’s managed by Father James Mitchell and now that he’s got a great mouthpiece, he’s only one step away from being a true main event player.
Abyss (w/ James Mitchell) vs. Sonny Siaki
Match Background: Sonny Siaki was the recipient of a mega push during the early years of TNA and also had a very undeserving X Title reign as he doesn’t wrestle the X Division style at all. He’s easily the biggest Rock rip off I’ve ever seen, from his look, to his movements in the ring…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the crowd has simply never gotten into him. He is the lamb to Abyss’ slaughter tonight for the pleasure of our Spike TV audience. Good luck, Siaki, we hardly knew ye.
The Match: Siaki attacks first by Abyss just swats him away. Siaki uses his quickness to avoid any of Abyss’ blows and chops away, only to get swatted down to the mat with a HUGE chop of his own. The crowd chants “Black Hole Slam” for Abyss as they know what’s going on here…
Abyss misses a running charge and Siaki connects with a few punches and kicks, but is unable to take the big man down. Siaki hits a huracanrana and Abyss bumps like a madman for it. Mitchell gets on the apron and Siaki goes after him, allowing Abyss to attack and toss him into the corner. He connects with a running splash and follows it up with his Torture Rack Backbreaker, which looks like it should be his finisher…but it’s not! He nails the Black Hole Slam (spinning sidewalk slam) at the behest of the crowd and it’s all over.
My Opinion: I’m surprised Abyss sold as much as he did as TNA wants to get him over as a monster, but Abyss isn’t a bad seller at all. He actually made Siaki look good for a brief moment before ending it, quite decisively. He’s the kind of wrestler that can be an effective heel, but sooner or later, he’ll be a massive fan favorite. ½*
Another superstar profile is shown as the “Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe is featured. This man held the Ring of Honor title for 23 months, has held their Pure title belt and was put over by Mick Foley as the best indy wrestler WWE hasn’t gotten their hands on and screwed up. Luckily, Joe chose TNA over WWE and they didn’t hamper his very stiff style at all or make him change his gimmick as he’s a hard hitting, no nonsense having bastard who seems to enjoy inflicting punishment. He’s received a major push upon his arrival in TNA as he’s still undefeated and has already been involved in 2 possible Match of the Year candidates this year. Hell, last week, he took on the legendary Kenta Kobashi in ROH in what was considered to be their greatest match EVER. He’s got a VERY deceptive look as he doesn’t look in shape or very agile, but he can seemingly do it all. It seems as if TNA has put him in the X Division, but eventually, the fans are going to end up clamoring for a Heavyweight title reign for the man. Sadly, it seems as if we’ll have to wait a week to see him legally murder someone in the ring.
Tenay is in the ring with Larry Zbyszko, the Director of Authority of TNA, who announces that Tito Ortiz will be the special guest referee during the Nash/Jarrett main event at Bound for Glory. The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion (with a record 5 consecutive title defenses) cost Jeff Jarrett the NWA World Title at Hard Justice back on May 15th this year when he faced AJ Styles and I’m sure that JJ won’t like this announcement very much.
Ortiz, a natural heel in the very REAL sport of Mixed Martial Arts, played a babyface last time and looks like he’s headed in that direction again (for now) as he gives out his beanie to a child in the crowd on his way to the ring. He cuts a promo on Jarrett and Nash, warning them not to mess with him as a ref, but Jarrett rushes into the ring to cut him off. Jarrett tells Ortiz not to mess with him and goes onto speak on Nash (bringing up The Longest Yard and making him seem like a big movie star), only for Nash to arrive and a brawl erupts on the entrance ramp between the two. They make their way into the ring and Nash gets the better of Jarrett…until Tito grabs him and locks in a rear naked choke! The crowd (and the announcers) aren’t sure if this is a heel turn or not as Jarrett capitalizes and stomps away at a downed Nash, only for Tito to get up and waist lock JJ and tosses him aside. Security comes into the ring to separate everyone as TNA goes to commercial.
My Two Cents: I’m perfectly fine with the insertion of Tito Ortiz as the special guest referee for the main event, although its not like the Nash and Jarrett feud has gotten SOOOO out of control that a special ref is needed yet, especially not after one week and one altercation. Tito didn’t look very comfortable on the mic, probably because he was trying not to screw up and his movements in the ring didn’t seem very fluid either. He does have a lot of potential in pro wrestling though, its pretty evident from the way he carries himself and promotes TNA in his interviews, but he’s got some ways to go. He is a natural heel though and I have a feeling he’ll be turning on Nash during the PPV to keep the Jarrett reign alive. It definitely seemed as if Nash got the brunt of Tito’s wrath in this segment though…possibly a sign?
Shane Douglas is in the back with The Fallen Angel, Christopher Daniels. Daniels requested this promo time to talk about his 6 month X Title reign and rant about getting even with Styles, who won the title back at the last TNA PPV. He then challenges Styles to get 3 of his best friends in the X Division to face him on next week’s Impact and he’ll defeat them in 15 minutes or less as part of a “Iron Man” preview, so to speak. AJ interrupts to accept his challenge and says he knows exactly who he’ll use next week…
AMW vs. Team 3D
Match Background: This is a highly anticipated tag match (and probably the most anticipated tag match in quite some time) as AMW (Cowboy James Storm & “Wildcat” Chris Harris) is THE tag team most associated with TNA and of course, Team 3D are the former Dudley Boys. AMW has had 6 reigns as NWA Tag Champs, are VERY solid workers and have competed in some of TNA’s best matches, including two ***** matches with the former team of Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper, back when they were known as Triple X. AMW just turned heel the week prior to the Spike TV debut when they helped Jeff Jarrett win the NWA tag straps and immediately found themselves on the losing end of two 3D’s by the debuting former Dudleys. Between these two teams, they have a total of 24 World Tag Title reigns and that’s just amazing, considering the absolute drought in the WWE Tag Title scene right now. If you honestly believe that you’ll be seeing a clean finish in this match tonight, then you haven’t been on the internet long, now have you?
The Match: And AMW gets pyro for the first time…what’s going on with heels and pyro tonight!?
Tenay spews off the fact that Team 3D have been former ECW, WWE and WCW champs and personally, I like it when announcers talk about the history of other promotions instead of pretending that they don’t exist, because they don’t insult our intelligence that way.
Storm and Devon start off first, with Devon getting the advantage and connecting with a legdrop. Brother Ray comes in and both members of Team 3D clear the ring and pop the crowd as we go to a commercial…
When we come back, AMW is working over Brother Ray in the corner as the crowd chants “Let’s Go Bubba”. They use some heel tactics, such as chokes, cheap shots and shots behind the refs back on BRD, only to have Bubba come back with some HARD open chops to the chest. BRD hits the Bubba Bomb, which Tenay calls by its technical name as BRD looks for the tag to Devon. He leaps and makes the tag and Devon is a FORMER PREACHER EN FUEGO~! Devon almost gets a pinfall on Storm, but Harris disrupts it and BRD takes him to the outside. BRD takes care of him and Devon connects with the Doomsday Device, but that’s broken up as well. Their tandem neckbreaker is up next and once again, that’s broken up…
Team 3D sets up for 3D, but GAIL KIM comes into the ring and nails Brother Ray with a uppercut to the nads! Devon grabs her, but Jarrett runs into the ring and nails both members of Team 3D with the NWA Title belt! Both men are busted open as Jarrett makes sure to use the guitar on Ray as Devon eats AMW’s Death Sentence finisher! JJ, AMW and Gail Kim are aligned together as the show comes to a close…
Winner: Team 3D by DQ
My Opinion: Come on, you just had to know that something was going to give. There’s no way TNA would give away a match like this and give you a clean ending, especially if there’s only 10 minutes left on the air and they go to commercial during the match. That notwithstanding, AWM’s heel work seemed pretty solid, but not spectacular as I’m sure that it’ll take them some time to get used to the role. I would like to see them get some wins over lower level teams, just to build them up to the new audience that has no idea just how good these two guys are. Team 3D look refreshed and although they’re using the same spots as before, they seem to have more energy and are in better shape since their last WWE run. Gail Kim never really connected with me in WWE, but I’ve got to say that she sure was looking good tonight. I wonder if she’ll actually pull out her alleged cruiserweight moveset now…
When these two teams finally do hook up, for real, on PPV, it’ll be a match to remember, I’m sure.
Overall: TNA is still in the introduction phase, but they’re starting to develop the angles on top, such as Nash/Jarrett/Ortiz and AMW/3D. The emphasis on tag team wrestling will do them a great deal of good as tag team wrestling is at an all time low in WWE and it’s a breath of fresh air to see at least 4 competent tag teams on a 1 hour broadcast. This week’s 3 way match put over Daniels and gave him a national showcase, but the real test for the X Division will be the PPV. They’re going to get more people to order the PPV and they need to IMPRESS, as they have in the past, because that’s what’s going to keep people coming back. The build up to the Iron Man match has been slow so far, but next week should kick it up a notch with the 15 minute challenge.
With Styles, Abyss, Monty and Daniels given their time to shine, it’s only a matter of time before Samoa Joe is next and then we’ll finally get to the meat and potatoes of the in ring action on Impact. I would say that this was a solid show this week, with nothing really dragging them down and the build towards the PPV had been 10x better than anything WWE did to promote No Mercy last month.
Until next week,
“The Dames” Damian Gonzalez
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